A handout photo provided by the office of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, shows him addressing Iran's top officials during a meeting  in Tehran in which he restated his country's red lines for a nuclear deal with world powers on June 23, 2015. Khamenei said that banking and other economic sanctions imposed by the United Nations (UN) and the United States must be lifted "immediately" if a nuclear deal is signed. AFP PHOTO/HO/IRANIAN SUPREME LEADER'S WEBSITE === EDITORS NOTE -- RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT - "AFP PHOTO/HO/IRANIAN SUPREME LEADER'S WEBSITE" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS==
A handout photo provided by the office of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, shows him addressing Iran's top officials during a meeting in Tehran in which he restated his country's red lines for a nuclear deal with world powers on June 23, 2015. Khamenei said that banking and other economic sanctions imposed by the United Nations (UN) and the United States must be lifted "immediately" if a nuclear deal is signed. AFP PHOTO/HO/IRANIAN SUPREME LEADER'S WEBSITE === EDITORS NOTE -- RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT - "AFP PHOTO/HO/IRANIAN SUPREME LEADER'S WEBSITE" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS==

 Denies access to military sites

Tehran : Iran’s top leader has hardened his stance in nuclear negotiations with world powers as a deadline for a final deal rapidly approach, saying he rejects a long-term freeze on nuclear research and wants to ban international inspectors from accessing military sites.

 The comments by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who repeatedly has backed the Islamic Republic’s negotiators amid criticism from hard-liners, may give his diplomats little room for concessions ahead of the June 30 deadline.

They also directly challenge the US, especially his demand that Iran only will sign a final deal if economic sanctions are first

lifted.

Iran’s parliament already has passed a bill that, if ratified, will ban access to military sites, documents and its scientists as part of any future deal.

 The bill must be ratified by the Guardian Council, a constitutional watchdog, to become a law.

Speaking on Iranian state television, Khamenei called demands Iran halt the research and development portion of its nuclear program “excessive

coercion.”

“We don’t accept 10-year restriction. We have told the negotiating team how many specific years of restrictions are acceptable,” Khamenei said. “Research and development must continue during the years of restrictions.”           Khamenei accused the US of offering a “complicated formula” for lifting sanctions. He added waiting for the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency to verify its cooperation would take too long.

“Lifting sanctions can’t depend on implementation of Iran’s obligations,” he said.              Khamenei also said he rejects any inspection of military sites or allowing its scientists to be interviewed. Iran’s nuclear scientists have been the targets of attacks before both inside the Islamic Republic and elsewhere.

The US’ ‘goal is to uproot and destroy the country’s nuclear industry,” he said. “They want to keep up the pressure and are not after a complete lifting of sanctions.’

In a statement Sunday, the US State Department said inspections remain a key part of any final deal.

Tehran is negotiating with the US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany over its contested nuclear program.

The talks are focused on reaching a final accord that curbs Iran’s nuclear program in return for the lifting of economic

sanctions.

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